With these 3 simple steps you can learn how to taste wine. These tips are used by sommeliers to help them recall wines easier, as well as to refine their palates. The method may be one that is used by the professionals, but it is basic for one to comprehend, and in turn improve your wine palate.
Have a Look
View the opacity, viscosity, and color of the wine. This only should take you about 5 seconds. You often can tell a great deal about a wine from its appearance. If you are not tasting blind, many of these answers will be right on the bottle, such as the percentage of grape variety and alcohol content.
When you begin to smell the wine, think of it in terms of large to small. Consider if there are any fruity notes that you pick out, and think of these in broad categories (tropical, citrus, orchard, etc.). If you are too specific in the beginning or you are searching for one certain note, it can lead you to become frustrated.
There are three primary categories of the aroma of a wine:
Primary Aromas have been derived from grapes, and have floral, fruit-drive, and grape-derivative notes.
Secondary Aromas are those that are produced as a result of wine making practices. Yeast-derivative ones are the more common aromas, and they are the easiest to notice in white wines. They include stale beer and cheese rind.
Tertiary Aromas are those that come from the aging process. This typically happens in the bottle or in an oak casket. They usually are savory, including baking spice, old tobacco, mushroom, and vanilla.
Our tongues are able to pick out bitter, sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Any wine will have a sour taste to it, since grapes all have acid in them. This is something that varies based on the type of grape that is used and the climate. Pinot Grigio is one type that is well known for being bitter, though it does have a pleasant and light flavor reminiscent of tonic water. Some of the white wines are made with a bit of their grape sugars retained. Your tongue is the only thing that can detect it. There also are some salty white and red wines, though this happens less often.
It is possible to "touch" the wine with your tongue to be able to get a feel for its texture. A higher degree of texture is found with wines that have a higher alcohol content, along with being more ripe. Ethanol is perceived as being more rich than water. Also, tannins are detected by our tongue, which gives red wines their more dry texture.
There is a beginning, middle, and end to a wine's taste. This means that you can pick up on different things at these points.
Was the wine you tasted out of balance, or was it perfectly balanced? Did it have a unique taste and texture to it? If so, what characteristics in particular impressed you? These are all considerations to have in mind.